For those who lived in communist and post-communist Poland in the 1980s and 1990s, Bubble Revolution offers a story wound tightly in nostalgia. And for those who didn’t, it’s an experiential education. The story is told through the eyes of one wide-eyed young girl, Vica (played by Kasia Lech), whose fairy-tale style of storytelling juxtaposes the harsh realities contained in the details. It’s a rich and fascinating topic, although this piece focuses very much on how unfolding events affect this character (to whom the absence of Nutella as a child growing up during rationing is a far greater issue than the political landscape).
The set is simple: groups of balloons arranged around the stage, which as the play begins helps evoke the sense of childhood, along with Vica’s ‘party dress’ and matching Alice band. Through the projection of images and film onto the back curtain, many different scenes and ideas are brought to life. Lech regularly uses these to give an effect of immersion and interaction, such as a scene of heavy snowfall, where she appears to be dancing among the flakes.
The premise of the individual journey is an interesting one, although as it often darts between settings it can risk becoming a little confusing in moments. Where the writing does excel, however, is in its intricacy and detail with an abundance of clever reflective and observational satire. And while on this day it was in English, it’s also performed fully in Polish on some days. As a one woman show, of course, there’s great reliance on the quality of the acting and Lech’s is strong: energised, engaging and consistent, if a little exaggerated.
Bubble Revolution would perhaps benefit from leaning more on its context, with a greater exploration of the themes from a broader perspective that it is here. Nevertheless, this is a very interesting and watchable piece, with some moving moments, good theatrical ideas and a very intriguing subject matter.